Part 4 of Camp Life
(Warning: Explicit Language)
Lucas walked purposely thorough the brush, about 20 feet ahead. It was pitch dark and ridiculously late, and I could barely make out his outline in the dim moonlight. Luckily, he moved neither too fast, nor too slow. Rather, his pace was measured and deliberate, so as to give yours truly a chance to catch up. After all, I didn’t know these woods as well as he and I certainly wasn’t as attuned to my surroundings.
In fact, you could say I was a two-bit novice with pickled herring for brains. Thankfully, Lucas, a sleek and super-smart German Shepherd who always wore a red bandana around his neck, didn’t seem to mind. He waited patiently for me, turning around occasionally to check on my progress.
Growing up, I had spent little time around the canine set, so didn’t know the first thing about them, which got me into trouble twice. The first time involved a female who’d just given birth, and when I naively reached out to touch one of her pups, she snapped at me and bit my hand. The second incident involved an encounter with a very large dog that popped up out of nowhere while I was walking to a birthday party with a friend. We were 12, and in a terrifying moment, the dog bared his teeth at us and chased us down the street. The trauma of it all nearly scarred me for life. But then I met Lucas.
As I walked with him that night, I kept my eye on him. I swear, without Lucas to show me the way and protect me from my wild imagination–for I was certain I would meet my demise in the woods–I would’ve been toast. I was breaking curfew, after all.
At Camp Prison-Shit, I had gotten into the habit of missing curfew. That’s because, most rules had already fallen by the wayside. So it didn’t take long to break this one. Of course, I didn’t like how being on the wrong side of the law made me feel, yet somehow I couldn’t stop myself. In the short time I’d been there, I’d become nothing more than a potty-mouthed, in your face, up a river without a paddle low life.
Breaking curfew was actually a big deal at camp. The girls there were tough and thought they were all that, but when it came to curfew, there wasn’t a soul who didn’t live in fear of breaking it. According to Denise, there’d once been a counselor from Jamaica, Queens who had been caught coming back from town way after midnight. Sirens went off, lights flashed. I tell you, it wasn’t pretty. She was sent home the next day, forfeiting her last paycheck.
Which seemed rather ironic. Nobody seemed to care what went on during the day at camp, but Lord help the girl who missed curfew. And now, here I was, breaking it left and right. All because of Jon Denver and his Rocky Mountain high.
There was a rule that counselors weren’t allowed to mix with our male counterparts who were across the lake at the boys’ camp, but there was nothing in the rule about Farmer Jon, the hired hand in charge of the camp farm animals. With his ripped body, green crinkly eyes and lustrous blonde hair, he’d caught the attention of nearly every counselor. His round wire-rimmed glasses kind of made him look like Jon Denver, and though I wasn’t a big fan of the folksinger, I was ready to take any country road home with Farmer Jon. Heck, I was envisioning me living out the rest of my life on a farm!
At Camp Prison-Shit, the “farm” wasn’t really a farm, but a place to learn about country life. It sat on a clearing, on an acre of land, and seemed to be one of the more popular attractions of camp, not counting the lake. Our troop got to go about once a week, and from the get-go, the girls in my troop were suddenly on their best behavior there. It was as if we were going to Camp David for peace talks and a cease-fire, for I didn’t hear one “bitch” or “you ho” out of them during our 45-minute visit. Maybe it’s because they were all distracted by the farm animals. Of course, I was distracted by Jon.
I’ll never forget the first time he asked me out. Jon had given the kids a tour of the place, talking about the caring and feeding of the cow, the goat and sheep, the ducks and chickens, too. I noticed how he seemed to stay close to me as we walked and trust me, the feeling was mutual. The girls were petting the animals and squealing with delight and all. They were all smiles, especially when Jon’s assistant took them for a hayride. Denise and Yolanda went along, which completely shocked me as I knew how important it was for them to always look cool. Somehow, being thrown about in the back of a wagon didn’t seem their style. As for me, seeing how I was allergic to hay, I stayed behind.
Jon guided me back to the sheep and said, “Hey, you want to feed her? She’s friendly.”
I stared at the sheep, which wasn’t smiling or showing any signs of being amiable, except that she wasn’t screeching like a banshee, either.
Hesitantly, I stroked the top of her head. No response, which was a good thing, I suppose.
“Here,” he said, urging me on. “Give her some of this.”
He handed me some clover and I held it out to her. The next thing I knew, the sheep swallowed it–and took my entire hand, too! She didn’t bite it, just kind of sucked on it, nice and sweet.
Jon laughed at me, as he pulled my hand out of the sheep’s mouth. He could tell I was flummoxed. Still holding my hand, which was covered in spit, he casually asked, “Got any plans Friday? Want to see what’s going on in town?”
The campers would be leaving Friday afternoon, with a new group of girls arriving Sunday, which left Friday night pretty open.
I looked at my hand, still wet and gooey, and felt flushed.
I nodded, then said, “Okay to feed her again?”
He laughed and his eyes sparkled. My, was he sexy.
And that’s how I began breaking curfew and having late-night walks, to and from the farm, with Jon’s dog, Lucas. As soon as the kids were in bed and lights were out, I’d slip out of the cabin.
Denise would shoot me a look as if to say, “Girl, you gonna get your ass in a heap o’ trouble one of these days.”
I didn’t care. Outside the cabin, Lucas would be waiting for me. Together we’d walk to the farm where I’d meet up with Jon. We did go into town that first time and it was fun. Jon had a car which was cool, but most of the time, we’d end up on the couch in his quarters, which he had all to himself, and we’d mess around into the wee hours.
When it came time to leave, at around two or three in the morning, Jon didn’t walk me back to my cabin–he could’ve been fired if caught. But Lucas was a different story. I fell for Jon, but that summer, Lucas became my loyal companion.
Sometimes, after getting back to my cabin, Lucas would stay and sleep by the foot of my cot. His gentle breathing would lull me to sleep, but by the time morning bell rang, he’d be long gone. Back to the farm for feeding time, no doubt.
Well, I’m the first to admit, during this time I was burning the candle at both ends, barely getting any sleep, thanks to Jon and those late nights.
Of course, all that action I was getting was about to take its toll. You knew that, didn’t you?
To Be Continued.